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Points of Rebellion



"Today's Establishment is the new George III;" ifit doesn't mend its ways, "the redress, honored in tradition, is revolution." This is the proposition that has gotten Justice Douglas into hot water; it is called outrageous because we have a democracy and due process for redress. But Douglas' point is that, because of interlocked and centralized power, most people have only virtual representation, just like the colonists. In my opinion, the analogy is apt as far as it goes. I argued it with similar rhetoric in Like a Conquered Province-that the spirit and (to a degree) the tradition of America has been populist, pluralist and libertarian but that we have come under the yoke of top-down decision-making, social engineering and enforced conformity.

The trouble with the analogy, however, is that both before and after their revolution, the Americans had an independently going concern, a basic economy of their own, and communities and civil institutions of their own; this was bound to benefit from the downfall of imperial mercantilism and distant governors. But most of our present dissenters, e.g. the young and the black, have been kept out of the going concern and are often alienated in personality. Justice Douglas takes it too lightly that "the youngsters who rise up have not formulated a program." It is not to be expected that the young and the out-caste should have a program to make a complex society work. Their parents do not provide one either; and grandpa Douglas does not have much to suggest-mostly a rather unimaginative liberalism pepped up with the rumble of distant drums.

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